Going global

Going global.  That’s the plan for the fall season at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) (www.artscenter.org) at SUNY Purchase.  I have this from a reliable source… Wiley Hausam, PAC Executive Director.  “Our season is more robust than last year  with 35 performances and more international programs, including those from Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Australia and Canada.”  So, what’s the back story?  Says Hausam:  “As a first-rate arts organization, we need to present both the best American and best world artists.” The program includes such hot acts as a Brazilian Jazz Band that plays “fevo” which means “to boil.” This global awareness topic syncs nicely with President Tom Schwartz’ and the college’s commitment to educating young people as citizens of the world.

Hausam then  tossed out the “multi-modal” phrase coined by the NEA referring to the recent efforts nationally to increase participation in the arts by involving audiences not just as spectators, but as creators and through media-based activities.  In their recent survey “Beyond Attendance,” (http://www.nea.gov/research/2008-SPPA-BeyondAttendance.pdf), the NEA calls multi-modal arts participation:  live spectatorship, creation (for amateurs as well as professionals) and media-based participation (internet, online, CD’s, DVD’s).

According to this report, 76% of Americans participate in the arts in one of these modes and 26% participate in all three modes.  This really resonated.  As an active member of Americans for the Arts, a national research and advocacy organization, I had poured over their recent National Arts Index (http://www.artsusa.org/information_services/arts_index/001.asp).  What the trending indicates is that more people are participating in the arts through dance and music lessons, taking arts courses and playing in choruses and community theaters.  Perhaps the creative urge is balancing the technological age?  No matter, the PAC will be giving audiences opportunities for foot-stomping as in their World Dance Parties which will feature live bands and an open dance floor.  The first of these programs is on September 16th when the Slavic Soul Party performs (http://www.artscenter.org/tickets/production.aspx?performanceNumber=3800).  It is part of this  trending that motivated ArtsWestchester Folklorist Tom van Buren to feature four Global Stomp dance parties next season at ArtsWestchester.  These include Bulgarian, Cajun, Tango and Salsa stepping.

It may be a little weird to think that now that we are all exercising our fingers on keyboards connected to social media sites, we may all be yearning to dance the night away tweeting as we stomp.  With that thought in mind, I suggest to Wiley Hausam that he make sure the theater is equipped with WiFi lest he be attacked by an angry mob of tweeters.  There’s much more to the PAC 2011-2012 season including a collaboration with the Brooklyn Academy of Music New Wave Festival.  Find it all on www.artscenter.org.

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